WIAW- pretty in pink

Gosh the weeks are just flying by- nearly March!

This week I went for Monday again (because I remembered to take photos) and did make sure I got a lot of veggies in there.


It has been so mild so I went for a smoothie- with mango, blackberries, 1/2 a banana (don’t like it too banana-ey), hazelnut milk and peanut flour (for some protein- I much prefer that taste to any protein powder that I have tried too). Topped with some hemp and some muesli. I loved the pink colour! Yesterday I made an even pinker one- with cherries instead of mango.

Lunch: I popped to the shops to pick up a few bits, so by the time I got home I wanted something really quick.

Caramelised onion hummus on sunflower seed ryvita, with yellow pepper to dip, and grapes.

I also made a little banana pudding by mashing the other half of the banana with some chocolate pb, and topped it with chocolate almonds (looks like a mess because I mashed it in that bowl). Plus chocolate tea. I was in a chocolate mood it seems! It gave me energy for a little afternoon walk anyway- what a busy day!


Here is where I fill up on veggies! This was a freezer surprise! I thought it was going to be lentil chilli, but it turned out to be quinoa and wholegrain cous cous with black eye beans, peppers, carrots, squash and tomato, and I added in some spinach just before I served it.


A little bar of Montezuma’s white chocolate with raspberry. Yum.

And pink!

Well, pink flecks anyway.

I enjoy doing these WIAW posts, so thanks Jenn for organising them. I really am a creature of habit, so it does make me think about making something different so that all my posts don’t look the same. What I have realised I need to think about are my protein sources, or more specifically, combining protein sources. When I was younger I had a bit of a battle with my Mum letting me become a vegetarian. I never liked meat, so I just used to leave it, and my Mum was very worried that I would not eat properly. When I was doing my GCSE’s for Home Economics (Food Tech it is now called) I had to do a project about specific diets, and I chose vegetarianism. One of the things that was so important is getting a variety of plant protein sources, in order to get the complete chain of amino acids. This would mean having pulses or nuts or seeds with a grain/ carbohydrate typically. E.g. jacket potato with beans, peanut butter on toast, rice with chickpeas, and so on. Anyway, I have realised that I have moved to eating more pulses, which is good, but I have not been combining them with another source of protein- I don’t like rice (I don’t dislike it, just think it is a bit blah so never have it) plus I find pulses and veggies very filling, so if I was to have a chilli type meal, I will typically have it on it’s own. I know there are a few vegetarian complete proteins- quinoa is one, but I would only have this maybe once a week, and not a great deal of it. So anyway, it is something I need to think about and maybe come up with a few different meals or things to add to meals I have already.

Vegetarians/ Vegans- how do you make sure you are getting complete protein sources in your meals?



A week or so ago, I was listening to The Food Programme from radio 4 (on a podcast- you can get it here) and it was all about chocolate. It was very interesting; discussing why chocolate was getting more pricey, and looking at the growing number of artisan chocolate producers. I would recommend it, and it does make you think about where the cocoa comes from, the conditions and payment for the farmers, and so on.

I also watched a programme on BBC about supermarket foods. I could go into the pros and cons of this show (maybe later)- it was interesting but I am not sure I would trust the “science”. For example, they wanted to prove that cows milk was the best recovery drink for athletes. They used a rugby team, analysed their blood etc, but they tested milk against a sports drink, which looked to me to be lucozade (not meant as a recovery drink but as an energy boost before and during sports)- anyway containing only carbohydrates versus the protein and carbohydrates present in milk. Of course milk fared better. But anyway, I digress. One of the features was about whether chocolate was addictive or not. They found that when they scanned people’s brains, the same part of the brain was activated whether you looked at pictures, or actually tasted the chocolate. The concluded it is down to marketing that makes us think we are addictive. So anyway, next time you get a chocolate craving just look at some pictures instead.

And here are some pictures for you. I am quite a fan of Seed and Bean chocolate (I am a fan of all chocolate, to be fair)- they have some lovely  unusual flavours in my local Holland and Barrett. Anyway they kindly sent me some flavours for a review.

Fine Dark chocolate, White chocolate with Lemon and Poppy Seeds, and Dark with Espresso coffee.

This went well with the Dark chocolate with Mandarin and Ginger, and the Milk chocolate with Tangerine that I had picked up previously. I told you I loved chocolate.

All the chocolate was lovely. The dark chocolate is rich, but still quite sweet (not too bitter like some extra dark ones can be).

I quite liked the espresso one, even though I am not a fan of coffee generally. It had a hint of coffee which almost made it more chocolatey. It was sort of crunchy with the espresso in there too, which gave it a different texture. Andy loved it, as he is a coffee lover anyway.

Of course, chocolate goes perfectly well with tea!

The lemon and poppy seed one was a brilliant surprise- I was not sure how lemon would go, but it tasted like lemon cheesecake. I loved it!

I have since picked up another unusual flavour (extra dark with lavender) and some more of the milk chocolate tangerine, because I love it.

What I love, as well as the unusual range of flavours (I have seen dark chocolate with coconut and raspberry, and dark chocolate with pumpkin seeds and hemp oil on their website) and that their chocolate is made in the UK, is how ethical the company are.

On their homepage they scored 100% for the UK’s ethical comparison shopping guide in 2011 (the only chocolate producer to score that high). You can look here for the little table of results.

All their chocolates are vegetarian, and a lot are vegan too, so something for everyone. I love the range of flavours- something for everyone yet again.

Both listening to The Food Programme, and looking on the Seed and Bean website has made me think more about my choices when I buy chocolate. When I was a teenager I was in love with Cadbury’s, but now I cannot remember the last time I bought or even ate some of their chocolate. Now I tend to buy brands that I think are more ethical- Montezuma’s, Hotel Chocolat (in the sale!), Green and Blacks, but I do also buy cheaper chocolate for when I bake, because it seems a waste to use really nice chocolate in cookies or something. I did notice that Aldi have Fairtrade chocolate, so perhaps I will have to switch to that for my baking. Something to consider anyway.

Do you think about where your chocolate comes from? What is your favourite flavour combination for a chocolate bar? What bar would you invent if you could?

Sweet potato and spinach soup (recipe), and a disaster!

Although it is getting warmer, it is still winter so soup for lunch is always good.

The other day I roasted some veggies to have with pasta for dinner, so roasted some sweet potato too.

Aubergine and peppers for pasta, and sweet potato sprinkled with chilli flakes and paprika for soup-making.

The soup needs:

2 or 3 small sweet potatoes

Large handful of spinach

Spices- chilli flakes, ginger

Water and vegetable stock (I used vecon as I think it is much nicer than regular stock cubes)

The recipe made 3 big portions of quite thick soup, but if you like it thinner and add more water then it would make more portions. Anyway, this was 3 fairly small sweet potatoes. I softened them in a pan for a few minutes.

Then I added the water- maybe 1 litre. And a tsp of stock and simmer for about ten mins (as the potatoes were already cooked they did not need too long). Add in any spices too- I added a few more chilli flakes, and a little ginger.

Add in the spinach and let it wilt- only for about a minute. Then blitz it up (I have a stick blender so it can be done in the pan) and serve.

My Mum gave me a few sundried tomato mini loaves that she made when I went for lunch the other day, so myself and Andy each had a bowl of soup and a roll for lunch. Delish. It went an interesting green colour, but it tasted lovely!

And now, to the disaster.

This morning, as I do most mornings now, I put the kettle on, put a mint teabag in my favourite massive mug, poured out the water and distracted myself on the internet for about 20 mins (I leave it this long so that when I take the teabag out I can drink it right away).

I went back into the kitchen, only to see mint tea all over the worktop, all down the dishwasher, all over the floor, and the teabag in the bottom of my mug.

As you can see, there is a massive crack up the whole side of the mug. (I did clean it up before I took the photo!).

How I didn’t notice it when I poured it out I have no idea! At least mint tea smells nice even when you have to mop it off the floor!

Better plan a trip to Disney to get a replacement 😉

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

I love making Millie’s Cookies (recipe)

Ages ago, on Lucy’s blog, I saw that she had made some cookies, using a Millie’s Cookies recipe that she found here, online. I love Millie’s Cookies (although have probably only bought them a handful of times as we don’t have one near us, and when we see one we are not usually in the mood for cookies) and have made this recipe several times since seeing it. Their cookies are lovely- soft on the inside with a slight crisp on the outside, plus they do so many flavours- they even did mince pie flavour cookies one year, which I did attempt to recreate.  Anyway, this week I had a friend visiting, so I decided to adapt the recipe and make a few different flavours. White chocolate coconut, and dark chocolate cherry.

So- ingredients:

125g butter (I use pure spread which works just fine- anything suitable for use in baking would be OK)

100g light soft brown sugar

125 caster sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

225g self raising flour

1/2 tsp salt

200g chocolate chips. I used 100g white chocolate, 100g dark chocolate, 50g dried cherries and 25g coconut as my add-ins.

Preheat oven to 180C, and line two large baking trays.

Cream the butter and sugars. Cream them a lot so they go almost fluffy.

Add in the egg and vanilla. Cream / beat some more.

Sift in the flour and salt.

I then took out half the dough for later.

To the first half, I added the dark chocolate chips and the dried cherries (which I had soaked in boiling water for a bit to plump them up). Mix well to incorporate the add-ins as evenly as possible. Then scoop out with a teaspoon walnut sized balls, and space them evenly on the baking tray.

Then I put the other half of the dough back in the bowl, added 1/2 tsp coconut extract, the white chocolate and some coconut. Repeat with the dough until it is all on the baking tray.

The recipe says bake for 7 mins, but in my oven that is not quite long enough. I need to rotate the baking trays (as I have some hot-spots) and these ones took about 9 mins. They don’t look quite ready, but they will be. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

I put some in a bag for my friend to take home, and some on my cake stand for us to eat while we caught up with each other.

Yum- the white chocolate and coconut is a lovely combination, and they were both a hit.

Also, I tried the chocolate pretzels (and some multigrain thins with DCD)- they are nice, but only half coated in chocolate, and pretzel flipz were fully coated, so not as good as those ones.

And finally, I tried the hazelnut milk.

It is a brown colour.

I wasn’t expecting that. It does have a faint hazelnut flavour, but not too strong. It went well with the nutty muesli anyway. It made a nice change, and for £1 it was pretty good value I think, as the carton will last a good few days.

What is your favourite cookie flavour? And what about the most unusual cookie flavour you have seen/ tried? I fancy some inspiration.

Belated pancakes!


I normally make the little scotch style pancakes, but this year Andy requested the proper crepe style ones. Because normally I would be at aerobics on Tuesday I get out of it, but this year, no excuses!

I used the basic recipe from the WLR home-page, and it turned out pretty well. The batter was 112g plain flour (random- I think originally in ounces), 2 eggs, 210ml milk and 90ml water. I whisked it all up and let the batter rest for a bit. Then I got to cooking. I flipped with a spatula though!

Anyway, I was very excited because they looked like real pancakes!

They are best rolled up I think- I had a banana sliced, 2 with coconut + chocolate spread, and one with some caramel sauce.

Yes, they looked a total mess but they were amazing.

I had the pancakes for dinner.  I had been to my parents for the day- my Mum had made the most enormous portions of carrot soup, sundried tomato bread and some apple pastry things, so I had a pre-pancake meal of plums, persimmon and grapes (and rooibos tea). Not the most balanced of meals, but hey, pancake day is only once a year.

The only trouble is that now Andy thinks I can make him pancakes for breakfast at the weekend. Ah well. I still prefer the little fluffy ones- they are easier to make for one too, plus unless I visit my Mum I don’t have eggs in- although I could try it with egg replacer I suppose.

What is your all time favourite pancake/ crepe filling? Mine was always nutella with banana, although anything chocolate + banana based is great in my book (eg the chocolate coconut spread was good, and I bet dark choc dreams would be good too). Although when I was little we had them savoury with cream cheese and cucumber, then for dessert sweet with orange juice (or lemon, but I preferred orange) and sugar.